Apply From Your Home Country: Post-Pandemic Planning
15 April 2020
While we are living in unprecedented times with many of us experiencing nationwide lock down conditions, has the demand for a second citizenship or a new residence permit diminished? Perhaps surprising to many, it has not. If anything, the current global pandemic has highlighted once again the importance of having more options in life.
Many of our clients, who were previously contemplating an application, have now initiated the process. When the next global crisis, conflict or geo-political issue arises, they want their family to have greater options than those currently available to them.
Many of our clients have come to realize that their current government may not have the necessary resources or technology to properly handle the safety of their nation and its citizens. What if the world was to be struck once again with another pandemic or a deep global crisis of some sort? What will their country look like in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now?
This has forced many of our clients from around the world to action both short and long-term options for themselves and their children. For those with the financial means, giving their children more options in life is not only prudent but even more a necessity in an increasingly competitive and complex world.
As such, we are taking a closer look at those citizenship and residency-by-investment programmes that would allow clients to apply without the need to visit the selected country as part of the application process, or at least not until the very end of the process after the application approval-in-principle. This is particularly relevant at this time given the opportunity to apply without having to leave your home country.
Caribbean Citizenship Programmes
All five Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment Programmes (CIP) allow clients to apply without the need for them to visit. This includes Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis and St Lucia. Of these five, only Antigua & Barbuda have a very short residence requirement of five days within the first five years of citizenship being granted. The Caribbean CIPs start from as little as $100,000 with the passport providing visa-free travel to 140+ countries.
The five Caribbean programmes also allow you to qualify for citizenship by purchasing in a government approved development. This option provides a place to reside should the need ever arise.
In addition, for clients looking for an efficient CIP, Vanuatu is approving clients in as few as 2-3 months and they also do not require a visit either pre or post-approval.
European Citizenship Programmes
All three European CIP’s require applicants to visit during the application process. However, Montenegro only requires applicants to visit after they have been approved in principle, which is 4 to 6 months after the application has been submitted. While not yet a member of the EU, it is on schedule to ascend in 2025.
Both Cyprus and Malta require applicants to visit their respective country prior to submission of the application. However, this has not stopped clients from initiating the process as they view Europe as an exceptional option for the future for their children.
All three of the EU programmes have a real estate component, which readily provides a place of refuge during the next crisis or pandemic.
Other clients are attracted to Residence-by-Investment Programmes (RBI), all of which require the applicant to visit as part of the application process.
One RBI Programme that stands out is the Malta Residence and Visa Programme, as clients only need to visit upon receiving their approval in principle which is typically 8-10 months after the application is submitted. This allows us to submit applications without delay and gives time for the world to return to normal before they are required to visit.
When should I apply?
Many governments are now offering flexibility when it comes to the actual documentation requirements. Applications can be submitted electronically and in some cases the notarization of documents can be concluded after the application has been submitted.
With warmer weather on the horizon, we expect life to begin to return to the ‘new normal’ and with that we will certainly see an influx of applications for these programmes. Now is the time to apply to avoid the rush and subsequent delays with the processing of applications.